Saturday, 13 October 2012

Portable Wargame: Modern wargames rules: progress is still being made ... but not always in the same direction!

Whilst trying to write my PORTABLE WARGAME: MODERN rules I feel like I am making two steps forward and one step back, with the occasional step sideways thrown in for good measure!

I did quite a lot of work on the rules yesterday ... but this morning, when I reviewed the work I had done, I realised that I was beginning to design a monster! If I had continued in the direction I had been going the rules would not have been portable, let alone the wargame! So this morning I went back to basics and started afresh.

The rules are now far less detailed than they had become ... but they are briefer and less wordy. It may be that I will have to leave out some levels of complexity that individual users might have wanted included (e.g. multiple classifications for anti-tank guns and AFVs) BUT they are intended to be a fast-play, simple set of wargames rules and I am bearing Cordery's First Law of Wargame Design in mind all the time!

Note:
Cordery's First Law of Wargame Design states that:
'If players consistently ignore a rule because it does not make sense or hinders the flow of the wargame, then the rule should be discarded. If players do not notice that it has gone, then it probably should not have been there in the first place.'

8 comments:

  1. You might keep the added complication as "Optional" rules for those who want them.

    Dick Bryant
    Charge! There are no lead widows.

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  2. Dick Bryant,

    Funny that you should mention that option ... because it seems to be the direction in which things are developing at the moment!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Bob,
    Good rule.
    Therein lies the crux of designing enjoyable wargame rules -- what to leave out. A skill I, unfortunately, never mastered.
    I think most of us who are eagerly anticipating your mods would agree that simple fast and fun beats out wordy slow and tedious every time -- I don't care how realistic they propose to be if it seems like work to play it!
    Regards and thanks again.
    John

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  4. The Ferryman (John),

    Since I decided to reduce down rather than add more, I have made quite a bit of progress with the draft. I had hoped to finish them this evening ... but circumstances have made this unlikely.

    I hope to go to SELWG tomorrow, so I doubt if I will get the draft finished before tomorrow evening ... but as soon as it is ready, I will make it available to anyone who wants to read and/or use them.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. That's a good rule of design for ALL SORTS of things! (:

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  6. 'Cordery's First Law' should be inscribed deeply upon the hearts of anyone who would design war games. It is true that games design is a bit like computer programming: 90% of effort goes to 10% of cases - the exceptions. All the same, for my own rule sets, I will look at a rule and ask myself: 'What, if anything, does this add to the game?' If I can't answer, then it's gone.
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  7. Fitz-Badger,

    Thanks for your kind words. My 'First Law' arose as a result of the experience I gained from years of designing wargames, writing computer programs, and teaching difficult concepts to students.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    Thank you for your kind words. I totally agree with your comments about the tendency designers have to spending a disproportionate amount of time and effort on exceptions rather than on developing the core elements of a computer program ... and that the same is often true with regard to the design of a set of wargame rules.

    I originally outlined my 'First Law' during a lecture to fellow wargame designers nearly twenty years ago ... and it was greeted by nods all round the room. I also pointed out that complexity did not equate with accuracy and realism, and that simple mechanisms applied appropriately could generate sophisticated results, and this was also greeted with general agreement.

    All the best,

    Bob

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